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If you’ve been injured in a boating or other watercraft accident that was someone else’s fault, you may wonder if you are eligible for a personal injury settlement. If you or your personal injury attorney can prove negligence on the part of the boat operator, you may be eligible for compensation. Injuries caused by others’ negligence in boating and watercraft accidents are eligible for compensation, just like injuries incurred in a car accident.
A variety of injuries can occur in a boating collision, regardless of the boat hits another watercraft or a stationary object, such as a dock:
• Broken Bones
• Traumatic Brain Injuries
• Injuries Leading to Paralysis
• Lacerations or Amputations
These injuries can lead to big medical bills and lifelong disabilities. Just like with a motor vehicle, operators of watercraft must fulfill certain responsibilities:
• They must have proper knowledge of how to operate and control their watercraft
• They must maintain a safe operating speed
• They must take care to avoid other watercraft and stationary objects
• They cannot imbibe alcohol or use other drugs while operating their watercraft.
Unlike car operators, however, those who operate watercraft are not necessarily required to have a license or any type of training-and the large majority of boating accidents are caused by those operators who do not have any boating education. However, a lack of proper education does not free an operator from their liability as a watercraft operator. Suppose the operator was negligent in fulfilling one or more of these duties. In that case, they can be held liable for their passengers’ injuries or for the injuries of those in a watercraft that they struck.
What to do if you are involved in a boating accident
* If you are involved in a boating accident, you must make sure you or someone else calls the water authorities. These authorities will be either United States Coast Guard officers or state Marine Patrol officers. The coast guard officers will fill out an accident report similar to if you were in a car accident. The report will make note of personal injuries, damage to the watercraft, and any underlying factors, such as the use of alcohol, that might have contributed to the accident.
* Make sure you report any injuries you have at the time of the accident. Not reporting them can make it more difficult to gain compensation later on. Make sure that any insurance company information is also reported. Make sure to call your insurance company as soon as possible to notify them of an accident.
* If the negligent boat operator is defiant in checking with their insurance company about covering you, or if they refuse responsibility for the accident, you may want to contact a boating accident attorney who can help you determine the strength of your claim by assessing accident reports, the extent of your injuries, and discussions with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
A personal injury settlement can compensate you for your medical bills, pain, and suffering caused by your injury, time away from work, and any lifelong disabilities you may have received due to the boating accident.